During the heyday of Tiger Woods, he held the title of World No. 1 more weeks than when he wasn’t.
In Saturday’s third round of the TOUR Championship, the Englishman showed what it means to be in the top spot as he didn’t have his best game and found a way to shoot an even par 70, and keeping himself within striking distance of the leaders Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan, three shots back and maybe more importantly a chance to still win the FedEx Cup.
”I struggled really finding any rhythm, finding my game,” Donald said of his two birdies and two-bogey performance. “I couldn’t get in the short stuff, and when I did, I wasn’t hitting particularly great irons, either. But I could have gone the other way pretty quickly, and I hung in there pretty good.”
One benefit that Donald has is that none of the other top 5 coming into Atlanta this week, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar or Justin Rose are playing very well, giving Donald a real chance to succeed without winning on Sunday.
“I guess they’ve given everyone else a chance,” Donald said of the other five. “I guess I’m in the best position, but that’s the beauty of the Playoffs.”
Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship at East Lake in 2000 and 2009, so when he shot a 3 under, 67, no one was surprised, but since his win at the Shell Houston Open, Mickelson has not really had a chance to win any tournament coming into the final round.
But just fours shots off the lead and with his history at East Lake, plus the fact when he won last time he shot a final round 65, maybe this could be Mickelson’s chance.
“The past couple days, I shot a couple under, right around par,” Mickelson said accessing his early rounds. “I just haven’t really lit it up yet. But I feel like it’s right there. I mean, I feel like if I can just get a couple of putts on the greens ‑‑ and the greens are just beautiful, they’re spectacular, if I can get a few to go, I can make a run at the lead tomorrow. “
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.